Helpful Tips for Visiting New York City

It’s the holiday season and everyone loves an iconic trip to New York City for the holidays in the big city.  The holidays are a fantastic time for sparkling lights, huge Christmas trees and who can’t miss all the ice rinks, especially the famous ice rink at Rockefeller Center.  The big apple is the place to be during the holidays and for welcoming in the New Year.  But what about getting around in New York City?  The bustle of crowded streets, the divergence of every tourist to Time Square, Broadway, 42nd Street, 34th Street, the 9/11 Memorial and of course Battery Park to catch the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.  So you have one day, or one weekend.  Don’t lose time trying to walk across the city, Manhattan is a big place.  Don’t get caught loosing time in a taxi to get from one place to another, the traffic will snarl at a turtles pace most of the time.  city roads

Here are some of the best travel tips for seeing New York City.  Tried and true, experience writes this post. As a traveler to New York from New Hampshire, it is just a 47 minute plane flight, so spending a day in the city is easy for me to do.  Planning is key to maximizing the experience and I can still be back home in time to curl up for a good nights sleep in my own home.

Latest Photography Post from New York City – See the images from Christmas in New York City 2017.

Flying to New York City

Three Options: 

LaGuardia Airport – Just know, LaGuardia is New York City’s smaller airport so it can be a ghost town between midnight and 5AM.

John F. Kennedy (JFK) – New York’s International Airport and always a constant hub of travelers from all over the world.  It’s a busy place.

Newark Liberty International Airport (NJ) – the alternate and often cheaper airport to fly into for NYC.  Then take the NJ Transit or Amtrak to Penn Station directly from the airport at Terminal B.

I prefer traveling to Newark Liberty and hopping New Jersey transit from terminal B at the airport.  Buy your ticket at terminal B station, it is well-marked for AirTran, choose, one way, round trip, etc.  What you can expect is about 20 minutes on AirTran to the rail station.  Hop off on of AirTran at this stop and follow the signage for time, track and train number to catch the train to Penn Station, expect this ride to last about 38-45 minutes.  The train can stop along the way, depending on the train you are on and sometimes the train system will move to a “one track” option going through the tunnel to and from NYC.  If a “one track” protocol is in place, you can expect about a 20 minute delay for your departure.  This is a common event. 

Check out the New Jersey Newark Liberty Airport Link for updates Costs and Tickets here.

Seeing the Sites   (1 Day Itinerary)

List of Recommended Day Tours through Viator.  I tend to be a creature of habit, so here is a link to all the tours I have done through Viator since the early 2000’s.  Check out it out.  Christy’s Recommendations for Day Tours.  This link includes tours from all the destinations I have traveled too around the World not just NYC.

Empire State Building

Empire State Building from Penn Station, just take the 34th street exit from Penn and walk up the street.  You can’t miss it.  The view from the top is amazing, tickets are available for several options.  Note, its windy at the top and if you’re traveling during the holiday season, it can be down right freezing.  Plenty of Layers!  

“EdTrekker Photo Tip”: Taking Pictures from the top – bring a small tripod, one that can be balanced or set up on a small lip, with a tripod or a steady hand-held, use “program mode” and shoot at 1/50th of a second to create come blur of moving cars on the streets below.  It can be busy on top of Empire, so larger setups and exposures may be challenging.  Check the official site for rules on what you can take to the top.

9/11 Memorial Access

Buy tickets early! Buy tickets early!  If you were old enough to remember 9/11, the memorial is a must experience in NYC.  The memorial is a moving tribute to the events of 9/11 for those who lost their lives, the families, the responders and for America.  Just know, you will leave this experience glassy-eyed, especially if you remember where you were on 9/11, the day that changed America.  Listen to the stories, see the artifacts, intently listen to the news reels and take your time in the museum, every minute is worth it.  All bags will be searched and you will enter through metal detection security, but lines move quickly.  Buy your tickets early!  I book all my day adventures through Viator.  

Just walking around the City

Time Square

A must do at Nighttime to see the lights.  Take the Subway to 42nd street and hop off the metro.  Within a few blocks you are in the heart of Time Square.  Enjoy the lights, the food and of course all the people from all over the world.  This is great place spend the extra time before heading back to catch a flight.    

Chasing Architecture and Iconic Locations of NYC
(if you only have a day in the city, this list will take about 3-4 hours to enjoy the location and carefully craft your photos)

  • Empire State Building
  • Central Park
  • The Dairy at Central Park
  • Atlas
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Radio City Music Hall

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